Gene discovery could be critical in 10% breast cancers

In collaboration with the Press Association

Scientists at the UK's Institute of Cancer Research have announced that they have identified an overactive gene that could be linked to ten per cent of all breast cancers.

The researchers added that the discovery may be particularly relevant to tumours of the milk gland, known as lobular cancers, which are among the most resistant to treatment.

The gene, known as FGFR1, regulates the amount of a protein that is known to promote cancer growth. Targeting FGFR1 in laboratory trials was shown to reduce cancer growth.

"Breast cancer is a complex disease made up of many sub-types," said Dr Jorge Reis-Filho of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the institute.

"Currently, most breast cancers are treated similarly but we'd like to be able to tailor treatment for each type. To do this, it is important that we find targets for drug development.

"The discovery of FGFR1 is the first step on the road to tailoring treatment for the ten to 15 per cent of women diagnosed with lobular breast cancer."